Punjabi Conversation– by Balwinder Kaur BrarSurrey: Brar Productions,  Punjabi Learning CDs + Book.

Reviewed by:

Dr. Rajwant Singh Chilana

Associate Professor Emeritus (University of Illinois, USA)


Punjabi, also spelled as Panjabi, is the language of the Punjab provinces in India as well as Pakistan. There are several millions Punjabis throughout the globe.   Punjabi is also spoken as a minority language in many countries, where Punjabis have emigrated in large numbers, such as England, Canada, United States, Singapore, Thailand, and Australia. In United Kingdom it is the second most spoken language. Surrey city of Canada has the largest number of Punjabi speaking South Asians in North America.  In recent years Punjabi has become a very popular language, and there has been growing interest in teaching and learning this language. Punjabi is taught in many Sikh Gurdwaras, schools, colleges and universities. Several books, dictionaries, and online resources have been produced and developed for learning the Punjabi. Punjabis in Canada are growing by leaps and bounds and within the next three years it will become Canada’s fourth largest spoken language and thus it is being taught in many provinces like Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario. In early 1990’s  keeping in view the needs of growing populations of Punjabi speaking , the Ministry of Education of the British Columbia developed and introduced Punjabi teaching courses for  elementary and secondary schools. The PLEA has made significant contributions in promoting the teaching and learning of Punjabi language in British Columbia. The University of British Columbia in Vancouver also started Punjabi as credit course at three levels, and a Chair for Professor of Punjabi and Sikhism was created.  The Simon Fraser University also started some Punjabi courses. Punjabi teaching was also introduced at the Fraser Valley University, Abbotsford, as well as Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Surrey.  Later Ontario and Alberta provinces followed the suit. Also some schools in Bay area of California, USA, introduced Punjabi learning in some selected schools. There are a few universities in United States that offer Punjabi languages courses, along with Chair of Sikh studies, that are University of California at Berkeley and Riverside, University of Columbia, Michigan and others. Punjabi teaching is a vital part of schools, Sikh temples, colleges and universities in United Kingdom where several hundred thousand Indians have made their home.

In recent years many efforts have been made in producing many sources on teaching and learning of Punjabi language.  Not much has been developed for non-Punjabi people in communicating with growing population of Punjabi speaking people. Balwinder Kaur Brar, a long time highly experienced Punjabi teacher in Lower Mainland has produced an excellent CD and book for Punjabi conversation. This Punjabi Conversation resource contains three CDs and includes a book in Romanized format that has been published by Brar Productions in Surrey. It’s a good staring source for Punjabi instruction.  This CD self learning course consists of three CDs that run for 168 minutes and contain over 650 words and useful phrases.

This is self study course in Punjabi conversation that is meant for teachers, lawyers, doctors, police personnel, business people, social workers, community leaders, multicultural workers, real estate agents, library professionals, social workers, bankers and all those people who wish to communicate in Punjabi. It is also a good source for travelers who wish to visit Punjab and get in touch with Punjabi speaking people.  Though there are some other audio-visual material produced in India and other countries, this CD set and book have been developed to keep in view the demand of Canadians who want to learn Punjabi conversation. This CD set is recommended for libraries, institutions, private agencies and individuals, and can be ordered from the India Book World.